On May 6, Judah Benjamin Sabo entered the world. He's been a pretty popular guy around our house ever since. His birth was a miraculous event, in my estimation. He's the product of a very difficult pregnancy for Julie, marked by gestational diabetes, insulin shots, sleeplessness, stress ... and at the end a very difficult birth. She began bleeding the night of May 5th. Nothing too serious, but worrisome nevertheless. In conversations with the doctor he at first advised her to stay home and rest. But I believe it was around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. -- maybe a little later; at that time of night what's really the difference between an hour or two? -- that she woke me and said it was time to go to the hospital, even though she wasn't in labor.
We arrived at the hospital at 3 or 4 a.m. and she was doing fine for a while. So was Judah. The plan was for Julie to go ahead and have Judah naturally and to let the birthing process take its course. But around 8 a.m. suddenly things went downhill. Judah's heartbeat couldn't be found and Julie crashed as well, going faint. It seemed an eternity as nurses and doctors rushed into the room and an oxygen mask was placed on Julie that we couldn't hear Judah's heartbeat. It had been so strong at 138 beats a minute, a steady pulsing that signified a healthy baby. Minutes seemed to go by and I watched it at the end of the bed, out of the way of all the commotion, my own heart fluttering and a sense of dread. I did what only I could do in that moment and that was to pray.
I remember praying that I knew God had a plan in all of this but I told Him I didn't know if I was strong enough to face losing my son. And as I watched Julie as she appeared to be in a fog I asked God to save them both. In the scramble suddenly I heard Judah's heartbeat, about 70 beats a minute, weak but a sweet sound. The doctor came to me and told me they were taking Julie in for an emergency c-section. He thought things would be fine and that it appeared Julie and baby were stabilized. They wheeled her away and I waited, alone in prayer.
Maybe a half-hour later the doctor reappeared. Another Sabo had entered the world. He told me that the umbilical cord was wrapped around Judah's neck and in a knot. As he was descending in the birth canal, the cord was stretching and the knot was tightening. If he had been born vaginally, he wouldn't have made it, the doctor said. Julie had her own complications. She hemorrhaged in the recovery room and had a reaction to the anesthesia. For hours the nurses had to keep waking her up because she would fall asleep and quit breathing. It wasn't until about four hours later that I was able to see her. She was still groggy and twice while I was in the room with her she fell asleep and quit breathing.
The doctor, when he was speaking to me just after the birth, told me how another 20 minutes and we might not have either Julie or Judah with us. He told me how lucky we were. No, it wasn't that. "I was praying," I said.
Julie is doing just fine. She's as busy as ever and Judah keeps her quite occupied. Judah is growing into a stout young Sabo, or as stout as a Sabo can be. He's starting to laugh and is reaching out for things. This evening I was holding him and went in the back yard with the little boys and Olivia. Eli started kicking a soccer ball around. Judah watched him and started laughing. Then I joined in and started playing a game with Eli and Gabe while still holding Judah. We've never heard Judah laugh so hard.